Review – Meet the Fockers (2004)

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meet-the-fockers-529b5a3b35d6fWelcome to Meeting the Parents Week: Day 2. It’s not a very common thing, is it, to see a sequel to a comedy film…not only is it more of a rarity, but it’s usually a curse, as well. Sequels usually do so horribly bad that they never make it to being a trilogy…yet, that’s exactly what Meet the Parents did. The second film in the trilogy was called Meet the Fockers, and it mostly had to do with Greg’s in-laws meeting his parents for the first time, and of course, they are strange. But again, everyone’s family is weird in one way or another, so you’re initially thinking that the sequel once again did what the original did – something ultimately relatable, and that’s not really what we get here in the end. Let’s talk about the plot.

“Having given permission to male nurse Greg Focker to marry his daughter, ex-CIA man Jack Byrnes and his wife travel to Miami to Greg’s parents, who this time around are Mr. and Mrs. Focker, who are as different from them as can be. As asked in the first movie, what sort of people name their son Gaylord M. Focker?” – IMDb

I’ll tell you what I think should’ve been the theme in this film – embarrassment. The first film was all about pleasing his future father-in-law and this movie would be an extension of that, but his strange family just keeps embarrassing him. Now, while that does indeed happen in the film, I don’t think embarrassment was the main theme – I believe uncomfortability was. This movie was uncomfortable for the characters, for the audience, for everyone – because the picture you get from the first film is so secure and so unchanging that when you see this movie…it doesn’t feel like the first one…it kind of feels wrong, for a multitude of reasons.

The first is obviously the theme and tone, but it gets deeper than that. This movie isn’t relatable, like the first film. His parents are way too flamboyantly cartoon-like and…fake. His old house is just as colorful and strange – it’s just that everything about them exudes fictional, even fantasy. So, even though I’m a fan of who was playing his parents, I didn’t really like the characters. They are wonderful actors and they’re acting like idiots from beginning to end, and it’s not really that funny. Even Pam’s parents were silly in the first film, but they were believable characters at least, just slightly exaggerated. I have no idea what’s going on here.

That’s really just my first impressions, though. Let’s go ahead and dig deep into Meet the Fockers, and interpret the stars!

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PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2

First up, we have the people category, which didn’t do terrible. After all, this was a movie franchise that focused heavily on unique characters and their interaction with one another, and that happens again in its follow-up tale. The acting isn’t as good in this film, and that mostly had to do with how much lighter and ridiculous it has gotten – a big part of that was the Fockers – but the Byrnes also play a part in the ridiculousness – like the Puff the Magic Dragon song that plays out of the RV as a honk? The characters are half good, half bad. The good ones are undoubtedly the Byrnes, and the bad ones were the Fockers. Casting fine, like I said, I love who they cast, I just didn’t care much for the characters that we are given. Each character did have an important role as far as the direction of the film goes, though. While I didn’t like the characters, they were still unique enough and independently important enough to help further the story, and that’s good. Finally, I would still consider the chemistry in this film to be pretty much on par with what it should be.

WRITING SCORE – 5/10
Dialogue – 1|Balance – 1|Story – 0|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2

Next up, we have the writing category, which truthfully could’ve been better. Let’s dig in. The dialogue wasn’t as sharp as the first film. Even though it had its moments, it was mostly uncomfortable, which makes this subcategory a little less than what it should have been. As far as balance goes, I’m at a loss as to what this film was ultimately trying to do, other than meet the other parents, which happens in the first fifteen minutes or so. After that, it sort of scrambles around trying to find more plot, like the illegitimate son thing – so that’s slightly convoluted. The story itself is neither deep or meaningful, it was pretty much just made just for fun. Originality-wise, it’s slightly different from the first one, especially in tone and location, so I’ll at least award half points there, and being part of this comedic franchise, it’s pretty much born to be interesting – even if it does disappoint later on.

BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1

Very, very basic score for the stuff going on behind-the-scenes. Nothing really stood out. I mean, it’s as-advertised, but that’s about it. Nothing about the visuals impressed me, the directing and editing both seemed rather basic and easy, not a complicated scene in the film, and the music is just fine. It opened on a good song, but that’s mostly it as far as music is concerned, so this category ultimately just gets a so-so score.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 1|Falling Action – 2

We’re onto the narrative arc category, which did alright for itself. The introduction brought us up to speed on what is happening in these people’s lives, as well as the fact that Pam is pregnant, which I think doubles as an inciting incident – which is also when everyone meets the other parents. The obstacles aren’t as secure as the first film, but I still can’t ignore the fact that the obstacles are definitely there. The end was slightly anticlimactic – nothing super noticeable there, but the falling action and returning to the new norm was relatively strong.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 2/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 0

Here’s where it gets in trouble a little bit – it’s not overly entertaining. I think as far as rewatching it goes, I’ll rewatch it as part of a trilogy, but when seeking out all three movies, the only one I’ll really want to watch multiple times is the original film. I think it had its moments and was fun here and there, but because it was so uncomfortable in the rest of the film, I have to dock points for that, too. Half points. Finally, the movie never really sucked me in, being uncomfortable, it sort of kicked me out of the experience. So in the end, I don’t care to buy it, own it, or even talk to others about it. Take that as you will, folks.

TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Meeting the Parents – 10|Sequel – 10|Comedy – 5|Romance – 5|Halfway Decent – 10

Now for the specialty questions that I asked before seeing the film. When it comes to movies about meeting parents, how was this one? Well, because it was the opposite of what was going on in the first film, we know that there were still elements of meeting the parents here as well – full points. This is also a franchise, so as far as sequels go, does it feel like it belongs? I’ll go ahead and give it to them, so full points. How was the comedy? Like I said before, uncomfortable, not embarrassing, not awkward, uncomfortable. It has some good moments, but it mostly feels out-of-place, so half points here. As a romance film, how was the romance? Truthfully, not as strongly focused on as the first film – there was just too much going on. Half points. Finally, was the film halfway decent? I went back and forth with this one, but in the end, I believe the end product was what they intended to have the theater watch, so yes, I think it is halfway decent.

TOTAL – 70/100

 

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